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Quotes From Reviews of Time Yarns Books

Reviews of Planet of the Magi

Planet of the Magi is a profound piece of imagery fiction, so sit back, and enjoy a wild ride into another time and place. Dije Kun, a young magus girl from the slums of the blockaded Planet Magi-ta, begins a quest that takes her to distant worlds filled with danger, knowledge and an assortment of unique alien characters.

Dije Kun is of the order of Black Magi, who generate their power by tapping into the basest of human emotions, fear and rage. However, after Dije views an alien contraband recording speaking of the restoration of an ancient order of Knights called the Kirifo, Dije, becomes aware of another form of magic, one that does not rely on hatred to generate power, but instead utilizes love and light as the catalysis to direct magic.

As Dije struggles with her ideologically conflicting approach to dark and light magic, we share in her difficulties as she evolves to become a master in the dark art, while seeking the elusive and fabled white magic. Hence, we meet former Emperor Lesley, who abdicated his throne to his brother, Chesley, to bring the Kirifo Knights back to their proper place in the universe, taking Dije as his apprentice. However, Dije is not the simple mentee, content on becoming proficient in the Kirifo art, but rather finds herself fighting against abhorrent institutionalized ideas. Using methods from both the disciplines of black and white magic, she matures into a magus of the highest quality, meeting her foes head-on in magical battles. Not satisfied with her accomplishments, she subsequently searches for long forgotten magical techniques and begins her quest to free herself and the people she left behind on blockaded Magi-ta.

The plot is well developed and will keep the reader turning the pages as Dije adapts to her new abilities and her strange and often hostile environment. Throughout the book, Erin introduces the reader to several fascinating alien characters. I especially liked Will, the omniscient sentient computer, where only an adequately shielded room can prevent Will’s inquisitive probing nature. The double-brained hermaphroditic Gisel species with their devil horns is another unique alien character I found interesting. I especially liked the detail that the proper pronoun to use when referring to an individual Gisel is, ‘they.’

There is a vast amount of history eluded to and I can only hope that future books will elaborate on these. Ancient wars and past emperors give the impression of peeking into a moment in the lives of Dije and Lesley. The reader will feel the weight of history upon the shoulders of these two well-developed characters as they fight and train, hoping to obtain their maximum potential.

Erin Lale does a fantastic job of weaving a tale of messianic proportions. The world she creates envelopes the reader in magic, making things like levitation and lightning blasts plausible. The readers will find themselves yearning to retreat into Erin’s world, and go flying through the universe with Dije by their side, lightening swords blazing.

-- Frank Julius Palumbo

Okay, brothers, sisters, androgynes and anything-elses. Here is a fast-moving yet introspective space-mystical espionage coming-of-age story. You got a whole new universe to invest in here, under the care of a major world-builder.
The action runs the gamut from the interior worlds of anger-fuelled Magi-powers, to the drug-enhanced fantasies of pleasure seekers and slackers everywhere. High-end Imperial politics, blockaded planets, mystic-powered sword-duels, the dance of intricate politics, many and multiple motives.
The story takes place on a wide canvas, with broad brushstrokes that fill in the galactic background - but there are nicely detailed vignettes, picked out in graphic like pencil work. The universe feels as busy, distracting and subversive as our own everyday late-night news reality.
The heroine and her bestie are the heart and soul of the multi-viewpoint narrative. They are complete small-fry in a galactic pond, but somehow - well, you will have to read right to end to learn how much success is alloyed with accomplishment and pain, sorrow and loss.
There are touches of the great epics here: Star Wars, for the intergalactic rush. Lord of the Rings, for the growing and deepening relationship between the two main characters. The Doors of Perception, for the mind-jazz of mysticism-cum-alienation and gnostic nihilism.
Get in on the ground floor for what looks to be a long-running series.

-- T.J. O'Hare

Reviews of Cat's Cradle Time Yarns

Cat's Cradle Time Yarns was not at all what I expected it to be. I am not a cat lover so was skeptical about reading it. It was one of the most delightful reads I've had in a long time. I learned a lot about cats; their habits and history. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a short story anthology. It would be well worth the read. The authors crafted their stories well. I know I was charmed."

--- Rebecca Vigus

The stories in this volume range from sophisticated, professional and classical to amateurish. Erin Lale's "Long Time I Hunt" steals the show, setting a standard that even the best of the other authors do not rival. With a Native American folk tale feel, Lale's story unfolds with elegance from a sun-god of a cat, a Mountain Lion who is embodied and re-embodied while generations of humans revere him. He watches "you clever humans" with a curious mix of fondness and cat-like detachment. Over time, he changes along with the humans in his world, until his final form, which is a pleasing surprise with an unforgettable final image. If all the stories were as well written as this one, I'd five-star the whole anthology.

"Locard's Tale" by Candy Korman is a glorious testament to my favorite cat breed, the Maine Coon. I am owned by one, too, spell-bound and hypnotized as helplessly as Kormon's Jeremy. The simmering plot of forensics, fibers, hair and murder make the story even more engaging, especially when Locard the Maine Coon leads Jerry to the real reason he was ever blessed with this cat's presence in the first place.

Don Nelson's "The Sleepy Cat's Treasure Hunt" brings back fond memories of my favorite childhood book, "Captain Kitty." A sleepy narrator drifts into a dream with his feline companion, sailing with a crew of kitties as they dodge the clumsy cannon balls of Captain Yapper and his ship of Pirate Dogs. It's charming, comical and dreamy... but was it just a dream?

In "Tomcat's True Story," Lara Biyuts's descriptions of cat behavior ring true. The prose is rather pedestrian, or high-school, but the cats are fun to read about. The old tom, King Basil, mysteriously vanishes. A new top-cat rises on the neighborhood wall: King Innkentius, aka Ken. (Love these names!) He is outsmarted by the cleverness of a newcomer named Barrwick, which leads to the ultimate throne for that little cat.

"Punky" is a sweet tale of a homeless cat finding a human mommy. Monica Brinkman's prose could use some polish and style, but it's a readable story.

"The 13th Time" by Carol Sumilas Boshears is sci-fi tale about an annual Halloween visitor. Too much "tell" versus "show" here, and the clunky feel of high school writing, kept me from feeling engaged in the story.

Scientist Tony Thorne's "Night Prowlers" opens this collection. The premise is charming, a "cat burglar" who'd be at home in a steam punk novel, but the prose is not what I'd expect from someone who's written more than a dozen novels. The plot was choppy, and the suffered a certain lack of pacing, tone, suspense, and narrative grace.

But for all its weaknesses, the anthology as a whole is a pleasing read

--- Carol Kean
Perihelion review of Cat's Cradle Time Yarns (review also by Carol Kean, similar to the above Amazon review.) Link: http://www.perihelionsf.com/reviews.htm

"Thoroughly enjoyed these cat-based short stories! A couple had rather abrupt endings, which left me wanting more but they were all well-created shorts, and were interesting."

--- Kendra H. on Amazon

"About Night Prowlers:

"The reader is lead easily into the twists and turns of this amusing piece."

About Locard's Tale:

"This paranormal tale of tails, begins with the sweep of a cat's plumed tail,
and continues with the introduction of this distinctive cat, Locard. Locard is
found after a hurricane, and his presence weaves, suitably catlike, through the
ins and outs of Jeremy's quest to discover the truth behind the family mystery,
that of an `icy' cold case.
From the outset, the reader is presented with a family who know their
philosophers – here are a family who would never deign to call a pet of a Maine
Coone's distinction, `Pinkie' or `Tiddles', despite the suggestion of `Fluffy'.
This sets the scene intellectual scene for the tale which unfolds. The writer
neatly brings in each element with care"

About Tomcat's True Story

"It falls between genres, being neither a simple tale nor a comic write. It is
difficult to write about a pet without the need to anthropomorphize, but
unfortunately this tale is full of anthropomorphisms, which spoil the read...It
would have been better had the author rephrased the cats' interactions in such a
way as to retain the humor from an observers point of view, for example `I felt
betrayed on his behalf'. `Native feline language' provides an amusing touch, as
does `king of the courtyard.'"

About The Sleepy Cat's Treasure Hunt

"This would make a very good kidult book, illustrated with cartoons, or animated
into a video. The device of the dream, which may not have been a dream after
all, works rather well.
The author has provided the reader with some very amusing turns of phrase and
imagery; `It was a truly cozy place, this land of grey and pink…' `Spitting out
a fur-ball, Oreo…', `…casting my own breadcrumbs upon the waters' and `truly a
cat of few meows.'
The story is full of this richly comic imagery, particularly the clumsy
dog-pirates, and the battle at sea.
Clearly written by a cat-lover!"

About Punky

"This is story which all cat-lovers who have adopted a stray cat, will relate
to. It begins with a vivid description, from the cat's view-point as she
struggles to survive in a hostile, cold and unfamiliar place.
...The story of Punky neatly avoids the traps of anthropomorphic descriptions
except for `may have marveled at…' in the second paragraph, and the use of
`hope' to describe the kitten's possible feelings. The author skillfully writes
from how an abandoned kitten might respond to being in a dumpster, cold and wet
and sick. She neatly joins the gap between the kitten's experience and the
narrative of the human who adopts Punky.
The story touchingly contrasts the loving woman, who is trusted, and adopted as
the cat's `mother', and the semi-wild cat, terrified by strangers."

About The 13th Time

In this whimsical story, it is sometimes hard to know who is who, and who comes
from where. Anna is not your usual human and Zelan, seems more human than the
interstellar being, which he is. It makes for a good mix... The idea is original
and touching and makes comment on this kind of contact in a way which takes it
away from the usual pop-alien fiction, and into the realms of the paranormal
experiences which so many people have.

About Long Time I Hunt

This delightful and beautifully written story, draws together elements of
traditional culture and spirituality, with a narrative told from the cat's point
of view. The author writes from the point of view of the cat, never descending
to mundane descriptions, maintaining integrity through the narrative. The sense
of feline, self-contained presence stays with the reader throughout, as the cat
experiences transference, through the Lion Tooth, life time after lifetime,
tracking the relationship between cat and human. The story gives dignity to the
relationship, expressing the notion, understood by all cat-lovers, that cats can
be both affectionate and compatible with humans, while maintaining their
It is clear that this story is composed with real knowledge and understanding of
the relationship between traditional culture, the natural world and the
relationships underpinning all matter.
The notion of `kitty' watching us right now, has a touch of magic."

--- Susannah MacDonald, artist
Reviews of Anarchy Zone Time Yarns
"I really enjoyed this book... My two favourite stories were The Anarchy Zone and Host where both are set in a post-apocalyptic future. The Anarchy Zone follows a young girl whose identity has been stolen so she has to go and live in the Anarchy Zone with all the other people and mutants who have been cast out of society. Host is about people who live in a time where most of the population was wiped out centuries before by a comet crashing into the Earth. People now have hosts living inside of them, they keep them young and living far longer than they should. Maia who is a 90 year old woman but looks in her twenties is in Africa conducting experiments on the host free humans. There is a massive twist in this story that I did not see coming."
--- Claire Smith, Claire's Book Corner

"I will read anything Erin Lale writes."

--- Don Nelson (Amazon review)
Reviews of Cassandra's Time Yarns
Lale's character [in Noble Northern Spirit, a short story in Cassandra's Time Yarns] is a rune witch whose sense of smell has been heightened by a not-so-temporary spell. Heather is therefore the perfect detective. While she writes her thesis, she works for an agency as a "private dick". Her adventures cover everything from a missing cat to stolen diamonds to the Russian mob.
Lale's writing style is clever and funny. The dialogue and action flow easily and naturally. The reader is carried along with the hilarious, unexpected plots and fascinated by the quirky characters. Heather herself, her eccentric Aunt Cassie, the unpredictable neighborhood in Las Vegas, and the cast of interesting bad and good guys, in combination with the powers of the wiccan gifts, make the stories impossible to put down.
I can only hope that Erin Lale has a novel or two or three with Heather at its centre. The plots would be endless and the fun wouldn't ever stop. A short story is not nearly enough for me!
--- Catherine Astolfo, Author of The Bridgeman and Victim, Scribe's Digest
Reviews of Universal Genius
"I think one of my favorite developments that's come out of the self-/indie publishing movement is that out of print or limited print run stories and books that would have been unattainable are easily accessible to new readers now. This is especially true for short stories and inclusions in anthologies... [M]y favorite story was Obamaphone, an alternate history gem that's short, sweet, biting, and hilarious all at the same time. Seriously, this is how I envision decisions being made. The dance between bloggers, traditional media, and the world around us certainly doesn't escape unscathed either. I giggled. I giggled a lot... There is something for everyone lurking in here, though, so don't be afraid to give other new genres a shot."
--- Emily, whatbookisthat.com
"Diverse and full of depth, Universal Genius is an equally thought-provoking and captivating read.
Universal Genius is a collection of short stories, covering a wide spread of topics, ideas, and even genres. Within such diverse content it is difficult to identify a common thread, but that makes it no less fun to read - just like rummaging through a box of chocolate truffles, the reader never quite knows what to expect next; except that it will be delicious!

The "Timelessness Machine" is a clever twist on what happens in a competitive society where you have to sacrifice too much to stay in the game... Aside from the pointed commentary on society's possible futures, the stories also have an element of personal involvement that is hard to resist. The characters feel real, and their actions are fraught with consequences. In "The Betrayed" we witness a tolkien style banquet where a young girl has to decide if she should use magic to inflict violence on others. No less magical, the contemporary "Russian Sauna" is a spellbinding story of personal discovery, masterfully painted on a rich cultural tapestry.

This collection is an impressive display of the author's breadth of talent and creativity. While some stories left me frustrated and wanting more, the fact that the author is able to involve you so thoroughly within the diminutive span of a short story tells you just how engrossing her work is. Think of this book as Erin Lale's ambassador, introducing you to her worlds filled with characters you immediately care about; and if this sample platter of expertly crafted tidbits woke up your appetite for a main course - you're in luck, there are plenty more to choose from!"

---Ralph Ewig, author of Eleuthera

Reviews of the Punch series
Review of Punch book 1: The Loribond
"The loribonding process is one in which the subject becomes bound to another individual and is then under this other's control for the rest of their lives. They have to do whatever this other person says. The portion of the story that actually explains this process was one of my favorite parts of the book. It is a multi-stage process in which a series of tests are performed and each of these tests were logical yet slightly humorous."
--- Kevin, Sift Book Reviews
Review of Punch book 1: The Loribond
"The Loribond, book 1 of the Punch series, sets the stage with depth and detail that is gradually built up through the pages. From the battles and beginnings of the fledgling new galactic empire and its rulers to the main character's past and the hurdles she will have to overcome, everything is set in a detailed and layered history... A good read with a rich back-story. Highly recommended."
---Aurora Lightbourne, Science Fiction / Fantasy Author

Review of Punch book 2: Dark Horse

"The adventure continues in book 2 of the Punch series. Where Carla is finally able to get a job with the help of her new alien friend, even with her 'psycological discharge' branding. It is not all smooth sailing however and she again meets up with the Galactic Emperor, as a fellow prisoner on a hostile, pirate, ship and at the mercy of a sadistic empath. Carla ends up with more than she ever dreamed possible, including a release from her Loribond master? Until a person from her past shows up and throws another blow at her psyche, just when she thought she had it under control. Will she be able to handle this new situation? Can't wait to find out in the next book. As usual, a rich world with an intricate and expanding back story and compelling characters that always keep the story moving forward. Highly recommended series."

---Aurora Lightbourne

Review of Punch book 3: Vri 97

"Carla becomes embroiled in more adventures as she becomes comfortable in her new life. She is thrown together with Xywanda again, a continuing occurrence, and must overcome the odds to survive intact. As always, a fast paced, exciting adventure."

---Aurora Lightbourne

Review of Punch book 4: Dalshon

"Another exciting installment in the punch series. Carla continues trying to push herself to overcome her fears and in the process uncovers a dangerous plot. As usual we get non-stop action as things take sudden turns this way and that until landing us peacefully back on Gis ... or is it?"

---Aurora Lightbourne

Review of the Punch series 

"Erin Lale's "Punch" series is a story of truly epic proportions: seven books long, and set in a world bursting with carefully crafted details... Lale's aliens have a very organic quality to them, reminding me of the sprawling chaos encountered in Babylon 5 or Farscape, or the many great writings of Ursula K. LeGuin. Throughout the story, the use of clever linguistic tools subtly reinforces the "alienness" of these aliens, which differ not only in appearance but also in their behavior from the more familiar form of homo sapiens.

Aside from scifi, Lale also writes many other genres, and she uses her finely honed skills to infuse "Punch" with elements from these other areas of her talent. There are knights with skillfully wielded weapons, ruthless enemies capable of telepathy, and religious orders who practice clairvoyance in the grand tradition of swords and sorcery. But you will also find hard science, bleeding edge technology, and cut-throat politics, using the unique surroundings of space and alien worlds to infuse further realism into the story. The state of humanity is derived from a future history where the African continent has emerged as the globally dominant power, and Africa's children have become Earth's representative in the interaction with other species. Using her great talent of weaving ethnic cultural influences into the background of her stories, both her human and alien characters are engrossingly complicated. She uses the rich tapestry of alien species cultural detail with great success in human/alien interaction...

[Lale's] bad guys can be truly cruel, but often the antagonist’s malevolence is more the result of misguided intentions and not fully understood circumstances - making them realistic and subtle, with many shades of gray. Carla Punch herself is an unlikely heroine; as a former POW and military washout, the story is in part her personal journey of rediscovering herself and her abilities, which she accomplishes as much in her own actions, as through her interactions with the colorful supporting cast, both human and alien.

The sheer scope of the story virtually guarantees to offer something for everybody; however for readers who particularly enjoy the rich complexity of a world as imaginative as it is believable, "Punch" is a must read - be warned though, once you lose yourself in the pages of this new world where Tsim knights walk the darkness and serve the light, you will have a hard time coming back until you've devoured the very last page!

---Ralph Ewig, author of Eleuthera


Review of Punch book 1: The Loribond

"The plot is built quite nicely, it eases you into the intricate maze of the action. The pace of events is nice, and the characters are funny... It made me think of the series Farscape, for some reason. You know, with all the cool creatures, funny lines, and the nice characters? ... It's got solid world building, fun characters, action, intrigue... it's a cool read."

--- Livia Olteano, Butterfly-o-meter Book Reviews

"Punch 1 – The Loribond is a fairly easy read thanks to the simplicity of the writing. If novels that maintain a consistent theme bore you easily you are sure to enjoy the presence of several sub-stories that make up book 1 of the Punch Series... A few comical moments add a great deal to the book, and if you are looking for an escape to a world of aliens and intergalactic starship warfare then this could be the book for you."

--- Rachel Poole, Best Chick Lit Reviews